Know Your Mortgage Fees, and You’ll Never Pay Too Much for Your Loan

If you buy new windows, you’ll not only pay for the windows, you will also pay an installation fee. When you purchase a car, you pay tax, title, assumption fee, etc. Just about every major purchase comes with extra costs or fees, and home loans are no different. Most people think they don’t have to pay costs on a loan, because they are paying interest on the loan (they figure this is their fee – a premium on the money). A mortgage, however, does not come free.

While some are mandatory, others are not. Follow these guidelines, and you’ll never pay too much for your purchase mortgage or refinance loan.
The origination fee — The fee that bothers people the most is the origination fee, or what some mortgage people call a broker fee. This is often confused with points, but should not be. Points are something completely different. The origination or broker fee is what you pay the loan officer to originate or create and complete your home loan, whether it’s a purchase or a refinance. All mortgage people charge them, whether they work for a mortgage brokerage or for a bank.

Remember, if you’re told there is not a broker or origination fee, chances are you’re paying a higher interest rate, and this is how they’re making this fee. The origination fee is the primary way mortgage brokers make money. The company gets the entire fee, and your broker or loan officer gets a percentage of that fee – somewhere between 30 and 65 percent.

So, if your mortgage broker charges you two percent on a $100,000 loan, this is $2,000 for his company or bank and up to $1,300 for him. You may think this is an outrageous amount of money, especially considering that this is just one of the costs you have to pay, in order to complete you loan. It might be, and then again, it might not. It depends on what type of loan you get, how much work is involved in closing it, and the quality of the service you get. Here are a few guidelines on what you should be willing to pay in origination or broker fees.

Bad credit’s effect — If you are a sub prime borrower, or someone with credit problems, expect to pay more – up to $3,000 or $4,000. Remember, sub prime, or non-conforming, borrowers have some type of baggage that makes them difficult to get approved, which is a huge part of the mortgage professional’s job. They may, for example, have a recent bankruptcy or foreclosure on their record, or a civil or criminal judgement, tax liens on the property, or very little equity in their home. These are problems that good mortgage professionals can get around, but it takes a lot of time and effort.

I once helped an elderly gentleman on a fixed income refinance his home, and he had 14 liens against his home, all of which had to be satisfied, before his mortgage could be paid off, and he could get a new loan. I had three weeks, and probably 25 hours of time, just clearing these liens. One of them was a defaulted car loan on a car he didn’t even have. He owed $3,000, hadn’t made a payment in three years, and the bank was still after him. I had to negotiate with the collection agent from that bank, and get them to take $1,800 to satisfy the loan, which I would work into his new mortgage. After many telephone conversations and some very hard selling, they agreed, and I wound up getting it done.

Now, I would have normally charged a minimum of $2,500 (over five percent of the loan amount, in this case) for this type of work, but there was not enough equity in the house to get that much origination in the loan. I actually did it for less than $1,000 ($500 of which was mine), just because I wanted to help this man, who needed the cash he was going to get from the new loan to put a new roof on his dilapidated house. This is just one example of when it’s acceptable to pay more in origination fee, even though this man didn’t have to do so.

Conversely, let’s assume you’re refinancing your home in a
perfect scenario. You have perfect credit, lots of equity in your home, plenty of cash reserves, and the paperwork is very easy. The loan officer says he can complete your loan in two weeks, most of which will be consumed by the work of other people, such as title agents and an appraiser. This origination should not be much more than one percent of the loan amount and even smaller, if the loan amount is over $150,000. This is a loan that mortgage people refer to as “A Paper.” It is very easy to close, and takes very little work, so the loan officer can make his money on volume, by doing lots of these types of loans. I always charged $1,500 or less for an A Paper loan.

So, begin learning your closing costs by finding out what the origination fee is (remember, most of the time it’s negotiable). One to two percent of the loan amount is acceptable, unless extraordinary circumstances exist.

Exercises and Workouts – The Secret To Becoming Naturally More Active

If you are someone hoping to make improvements in your health, there is no question adding more activity to your day is on your list of “things” to do. No matter how you look at it, a mobile body is healthier than one that is immobile, and as the saying goes: “a body in motion stays in motion.”

Often the hardest part of being more mobile is getting the process started. So this said, what can you do to ensure you are not sitting around? How can you become one of those people who naturally craves exercise? It is not as hard as you may think.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind…

1. Think Activity, Not Exercise. First, you will want to think of activity, not exercise. Some people have an aversion to doing any “exercise” and for them, forcing it will have an adverse effect on their thinking.

When people instead focus on activity – merely moving their body, it becomes more natural for them, and they become motivated to do it and keep at it. Try this technique for yourself.

2. Get A Friend to Join In. It is also a smart idea to get a friend involved as well. For instance, invite a friend to go for a power walk with you or have a co-worker join you for a lunch yoga class. Sometimes just being in the company of others is enough to spark added interest in the physical activity.

3. Make It A Habit. It is also vital you focus on making it a habit as well. You want to become more active and stay active, not just have it be a fleeting thing. Try and set a time each day to get busy and stick with that time as best as possible.

If you can do it five days in a row, the chances you keep doing it will be much higher.

4. Go Slow. Finally, go slowly. Do not think you are going from being a “couch potato” to “exercise enthusiast” overnight. Realize it does take time, and you will not get there right away. Be patient with yourself and the process. If you show yourself some understanding and self-love, it will be much easier to go about this process without hitting so many bumps in the road.

There you have a few essential tips to keep in mind as you become someone who enjoys physical activity which gets their body moving for good. Think of this as a lifestyle change, not something you are doing temporarily.

Although managing Type 2 diabetes can be very challenging, it is not a condition you must just live with. Make simple changes to your daily routine – include exercise to help lower both your blood sugar levels and your weight.

Your Home Won’t Sell Unless the Price is Right

What’s in a number? Everything, when it comes to successfully marketing your home. Nothing could be more critical than asking the right price. Set the price too high, and you’ll get a bad rap from buyers and experienced buyer-brokers who can see through your inflated listing. Be sure to listen carefully to your agent’s advice, and consider getting an independent appraisal for the most objective assessment of your home’s market value. And if you’re still not sure, consider the novel approach of setting a price range instead of a specific number.

How do you know if your asking price is too high? The telltale signs are hard to ignore. If buyers or agents aren’t showing up at your home or if the offers are way below your listing price, then something is awry. Or if your home has been multiple-listed for several weeks to no effect, then it’s probably time to reconsider your asking price. Certainly, your broker should know market conditions in your area and be able to explain why there’s no activity. If not, pick a motivated broker who can get you back on track. Still, chances are good that he or she will say your price is too high.

Better yet, do some research before you list your home. Check the “comparables,” i.e., similar homes that have sold recently in your neighborhood. That way you can make an informed judgement of what your home is worth, based on the real estate market in your area. In addition, consider getting an independent appraisal of your home’s market value from a professional real estate appraiser. FSBOs (for sale by owner) especially need to seek a professional appraiser’s opinion, because they don’t have a broker to provide this information. Knowing what your home is truly worth lets you negotiate with confidence and know exactly what your bottom line price is.

Every seller must arrive at a price and negotiating strategy with their broker that they’re comfortable with. Most decide on a specific number for listing their home. But some brokers are using a range of numbers instead, say $134,900 to $149,900, for example. Prudential real estate calls this “Value Range Marketing.” The idea, according to brokers who use the strategy, is by setting a broad range the listing attracts more buyers who might otherwise be turned off by a single number at the upper end. In setting the range, Prudential agents say they try to factor in the price the seller hopes to get, the market value of the home, plus the price that buyers are probably willing to pay.

Exercises and Workouts – Running Is Not Always Ideal For Fat Loss

It is true; exercise is good for you. Physical activity will lower your blood sugar and is beneficial to your heart. But what do you think is the best way to lose body fat? Is it to go for a long run? Many people hold this notion. Moreover, it is quite understandable considering many realize to lose weight; you have to burn more calories. What better way to burn calories than to go for a run?

However, there are some factors you may be overlooking that could be preventing you from seeing the results you are hoping for. Let us look at what these are so you can see why it may be time for you to rethink the benefits of a long run…

1. Running and Muscle Mass Loss. The first point to note is this: running is not especially great at preserving lean muscle mass tissue. Because there is no resistance at play, this is going to mean your body sees no reason to maintain lean muscle and therefore, you are going to burn a combination of fat and muscle.

While if your primary goal is to become lighter and thinner, this may seem like a good thing. However, think again. The problem here is when you lose lean muscle mass tissue, your resting metabolic rate will slow down and lead to difficulties sustaining any fat loss in the future.

The slower your metabolic rate is, the less food you can eat on a daily basis and maintain or lose weight. If you like to eat, this is an unworkable situation.

2. Running and the Metabolic Rate. Another problem with running is it does not do much to boost your resting metabolic rate. With high-intensity interval training or weight lifting, for instance, your metabolism will be higher for hours after the completion of your workout. You will find fat continues to burn long after your workout is finished.

With running, however, when you stop running, you stop burning calories. Then you are back to square one. You will only continue to lose fat if you keep up the running.

3. Running And Food Consumption. Last but not least, running tends to make people hungry. It is not abnormal to find people feasting on bagels, pasta, or other carb-dense foods after a run because they cannot control themselves and feel like they have “earned” it. If you do that you are going to be facing weight gain, not weight loss.

You do not want to devote a lot of your time to running and then wipe out all the benefits it gave you. Keep these tips in mind and rethink the long run. There are far better ways to burn fat.

Although managing Type 2 diabetes can be very challenging, it is not a condition you must just live with. Make simple changes to your daily routine – include exercise to help lower both your blood sugar levels and your weight.

Renting Out Your Vacation House – Vacation Rental Websites Vs Free Classified Ads

If you’re a homeowner looking to rent out your vacation house, there are several ways to go about spreading the word. In order to have your vacation home solidly booked throughout the year, you need to reach the widest audience possible. Thanks to the internet, reaching the widest audience possible looking for your offer isn’t that hard at all. We will cover the pros and cons of some very inexpensive and cost effective ways of advertising to successfully renting out your vacation rental house, condo or villa.

Free Classified Ads. Posting free classified ads is one of the simplest ways of getting prospect tenants to find out about your vacation house, condo or villa. The most popular sites are Craigslist, Backpage and Kijiji. Go to one or all of these sites and provide some nice photos of your vacation house that you are wanting to rent out. Write a warm, fun detailed description about your vacation house, why it’s unique and include any nearby amenities. Go above and beyond, take it a step further and make a short YouTube video walk-through of your vacation house and include the web address or link to the YouTube video somewhere in your free classified ad. That will surely increase your chances of getting responses from potential renters. Millions of people visit the Craigslist, BackPage and Kijiji websites in search of deals and offers for vacation houses to rent out. Millions of people also visit these websites looking to post their free classifieds and offers. The upside is that they get tons of visitors daily and it’s free. The downside is since it is free to post ads, many people will also be posting eventually pushing your ad down the list. You want your listing to appear on the first page of your respective category. The best free way to do that is by checking back every couple of days (if you have not yet received any leads) and re-posting your ad. Unless you opt in for one their paid options, your vacation rental listing will get pushed so far down the list, any prospective tenants will never know your vacation rental home even exists. And there are no guarantees.

Vacation Rental Websites. These are websites specifically catered to vacation rental homeowners such as yourself and property managers. For a small fee they will handle all of the marketing and advertising professionally complete with an online booking calendar. Your task is simplified. All you have to do is provide detailed descriptions, photos, availability, a list of amenities and attractions near your vacation rental house, condo or villa. Once it is verified, just sit back and wait for the emails and calls to come in from potential renters. The most popular vacation rental websites that turn up when doing a Google search (which is what you want to increase your visibility to potential renters) are HomeAway and VRWD (Vacation Rentals Web Directory). HomeAway consists of ten vacation rental websites globally. Three of which are North American: HomeAway.com, VacationRentalsByOwner and VacationRentals.com. As for VRWD they consist of a total of six online vacation rental websites: VRWD.com, TrustedVacationRentals.org, VerifiedVacationRentals.org, VacationRentalsWebDirectory.com, Holiday-Rentals-Directory.com and Vacation-Homes-Network.com. On average these receive around 3 million unique visitors monthly. HomeAway and VRWD are industry leaders when it comes to vacation rentals. They are so confident in their services that they guarantee you will get a booking. If not, you get a full refund or can choose to book again the following year at no cost. Choosing to list your vacation rental house, condo or villa on a vacation rental website is not free, however the plus side is you get increased visibility and organized bookings. Save yourself the hassle of marketing and advertising. You will reach a larger targeted audience. Your listing is much more trusted by renters since it is verified by each website before your listing is added. And you get a risk free guarantee.

There you have it! Those are two of the most effective options to choose from when deciding on how you want to market your vacation rental property. Free classified ads on Craigslist, Backpage and Kijiji or, paid listings on HomeAway and VRWD directories. Whichever one you choose is totally up to you. Either way, best of luck in successfully renting out your vacation house!

Top 7 Uses of Land and How to Best Profit From These Uses

Many people are interested in Real Estate Investment, but believe they need huge loans to start off. This simply isn’t true. Unlike homes, ready to build lots are priced low, than appreciate and sell for more.

1- Investment- Just like people will always need doctors, people will always need land. A doctor cures a person, while land is needed to live on. What does this mean? History has shown that there is always an immense interest in land. Thus, the saying “Don’t Wait to Buy, Buy Now and Wait” applies here.

2- Moving into a new area. For example, if you’ve lived in Los Angeles for many years and are ready to retire, there are many benefits to selling your home, finding a great subdivision elsewhere that suits your needs, and building your own dream house on it. You will save immensely doing this.

3. Incredible Experiences- LakeFront, LakeView, and Golf Course Land is in high demand these days. The reason for this is simply the fact that there are so many fun activities in these areas, leading to higher interest in the subdivision.

4- Buy and Flip- This is a hard, but useful way to make significant money. Simply find somebody interested in a lot your about to sell, and pocket the middle man’s cut.

5- Recreational Land can be used for all types of fun activities. Even though you cannot build a house on recreational land, you can still make all the precautions in the event the land is rezoned. Because recreational land usually sells for less than residential land, having recreational property turned into residential property can be very profitable.

6- Ranch Land- Here you can own a house, among other shelters, while herding animals Ranch Lots are huge and meant to be that way so that the natural life doesn’t disappear.

7- A gift! Yes, thats right, buying land as a gift has grown, and even non-investors like the idea of owning a piece of property in the United States.

Fashion Development – A Historical Exposition

Fashion has been an age long phenomenon that has always surfaced in every human society across the world. Human beings all over the world have great need to cover themselves and also makeup in order to look good. Fashion trends have always showcased in every nation on a regular basis. Different kinds of fashion accessories and other fashion related products have continued to be in great demand all over the world.

Actually, fashion development has been a progressive thing. Generally, the term fashion refers to popular styles and practices seen in the area of clothing, makeup, footwear, furniture and accessories. However, the term mainly refers to clothing, makeup and accessories when considered in a strict sense. The development of fashion can be considered in four major phases namely, ancient, medieval, industrial revolution and contemporary phases. Let’s examine each phase.

Ancient Phase
Fashion development in the ancient phase dates back to the pre-historic era when people made use of local materials in producing the cloths they put on. In those days, animal skin and fur were mainly used. This was seen in ancient historical era of various cultures of the world. In the ancient era, cultural traditions influence the kind of styles and patterns used in the production of local wears. There was no widely accepted pattern or approach used. Clothing materials were either homemade or handmade.

Medieval Phase
The medieval phase in fashion development made a great impact in the history of fashion all over world. The era witnessed the emergence of local tailors and other dressmakers who used local fabrics in the production of different kinds of fashion attires. Fashion production in the period continued to improve from one level to the other. The renaissance period of 14th to 16th centuries that marked the end of the middle ages also made great impact in fashion development. During this period, great ideas about fashion started springing up in the lives of great men and women who later become famous fashion designers.

Industrial Revolution Phase
Fashion development got a huge boost during the period of industrial revolution that swept across Europe and America in the 18th century. It was a great period of change which saw the introduction of diverse methods of production. There was a widespread adoption of diverse kinds of industrial methods of mass production in the era. Mass production of fashion products became the order of the day in the period. Several big fashion firms emerged both in Europe and in the US during the era. Diverse kind of approaches and patters were also introduced in fashion production during the period. Several attires, wears and fashion accessories were also produced. Great fashion designers also emerged during the era.

The Contemporary Phase
After the industrial revolution, the contemporary period came to the fore. It all started in the early 20th century and also entered into the modern day era as well. Fashion development in this era has actually reached its pinnacle. The world is now witnessing the establishment of fashion plants in various countries. Great manufacturers of fashion products have also emerged. Sophisticated sewing machines and other tools have been invented for mass production of fashion products. Diverse kinds of approaches and patterns are also introduced in the fashion industry. Many countries now import and also export fashion products.

In all, fashion development is indeed a continuous process. It moves from one stage to the order. The world is now witnessing the development of fashion in the ever dynamic internet technology. Lots of fashion designers and their companies now operate online. The future is indeed very bright for fashion production across the world.

Property Pitfalls to Avoid When Owning a Vacation Home

Owning a vacation rental can be a very rewarding and profitable venture. It can also be a very difficult, frustrating, and expensive experience if you don’t avoid some very basic pitfalls. Some pitfalls to avoid may seem obvious, but are worth repeating. Others may be things you probably have not even considered.

I own five historic Key West vacation rentals, and I market and manage over 50 for other people. I have been in the vacation rental business since 1994, when I turned a property I owned in Key Largo, Florida into my first vacation home. Based on decades of experience, I offer below 8 of the most basic and common property pitfalls to avoid when owning a vacation home. In all the years I’ve been in this business, I continue to see people make the same mistakes over and over again that could be easily avoided with forethought, better planning, and some professional guidance.

While it’s not pleasant to talk about the negative realities of owning vacation rentals, it is my hope that you can learn from the mishaps of others and be able to maximize the benefits of owning your vacation home. Think these through carefully before you ‘take the plunge’ into ownership of a vacation home.

Don’t Buy the Wrong House:

Seem like an obvious statement? Well, the adage ‘Hindsight is 20/20’ is a good one to ponder ahead of time in this critical first step. I’ve seen many people ‘fall in love’ with a house or cottage they find while on vacation themselves, and decide it will make an ideal 2nd home and perfect rental. Be sure you ‘knock the romance out of your head’ and carefully consider how desirable a property will actually be perceived by potential guests and if you can afford it. First, find out what size and configuration of properties that are most in demand in the area you want to buy. For example, how many bedrooms and bathrooms do most renters seek? Do guests want historic homes, condos, cottages, studios or does it matter? Is a pool important, or a garden? Are you willing and able to make any needed renovations?

Don’t forget to Make a Business Plan:

Make a basic business plan and determine if you can make enough money through your rentals to justify the purchase. Get the help of a rental professional and an accountant or financial advisor to create a preliminary plan. Learn how much you can expect to pay to operate your vacation property, and how much you can expect earn in income. Get actual or projected occupancy rates from an established local rental agency. Find out what time of year you can expect to rent your home. Is there a short tourist season, or is there a year around season? Some communities have a high demand for private vacation homes and they command excellent rental rates. But other areas have a glut of unsold homes now being offered as vacation properties, driving rental rates down too low to cover the cost of owning a 2nd home.

Don’t Buy a Property in the Wrong Location or Neighborhood:

Carefully research the location, e.g., just because an extra 15 blocks from the center of town or the beach is no big deal to you, this could be too far away and a deal breaker for potential guests. In other words, make sure that the property you buy will be appealing to potential vacationers. And, what do the neighbors think about vacation rentals being operated next to where they live? This has been, and still is, a huge ongoing issue for many communities across the country. Many cities and towns are grappling about whether to allow or restrict short-term rentals. Some neighbors are vehemently opposed to the idea of a ‘revolving door of tourists’ coming in and out of their neighborhood. Other areas are thrilled to have tourists bringing money into their communities.

Don’t Ignore Community Rules and Regulatory Agencies:

As vacation homes have become increasingly popular, many communities have created rules and regulations that restrict and govern property rentals. Contact the community licensing department where you are planning to purchase a vacation property. Find out if there are restrictions on the time and frequency you can rent your home. Find out if you need to purchase a business license or a special transient rental license. Ask if you need to have a health and safety inspection by the city, county, or state. Find out if you need to collect and pay a tourist bed tax and state sales tax. Don’t ignore the rules and regulations. In some communities, code enforcement officers scan vacation rental websites in search of properties that are offered as illegal rentals. Getting caught breaking the law unknowingly can be expensive and embarrassing!

Don’t Pretend You Can Avoid Renovation and Major Repairs:

Be prepared to accept the fact that owning a successful vacation home means that ongoing quality control becomes a way of life. Unless your property is located in an area where luxury and comfort are disregarded as superfluous, expect to renovate and keep your property to a high quality standard. If you want your rental to be competitive in the vacation market, expect to upgrade you kitchen, bathrooms, replace carpets, floors, decks, porches, windows, repaint, landscape, and put on a new roof when the time comes. In some locations you will need to add a swimming pool or at least a Jacuzzi. Make sure the local building department will allow you to make upgrades. Figure out a time to make needed repairs, and mark off time in your rental calendar to do the work.

Don’t Under Estimate the Importance of Housekeeping and Property Maintenance:

Even after your vacation home is upgraded and operating, you must commit to ongoing housekeeping and on-call maintenance services. If you don’t provide good housekeeping services and regular property maintenance to keep the property to a quality standard, you will most likely live with constant complaints. And you can expect unhappy guests who may be compelled to write bad reviews about your property on internet vacation travel logs and rental websites. A maintenance person must be on-call to fix the myriad of little things that happen in a house such as clogged toilets, mal-functioning a/c or heaters, swimming pool problems, mal-functioning internet connections, and TV remotes to name a few. The more your property is rented, the more maintenance and housekeeping you need o provide.

Don’t Think Your House Can be Successful without Proper Furnishing and Staging:

A common scenario is for new owners of a 2nd home to think they can furnish their property with a hodge-podge of inexpensive garage sale items or discarded personal items. When people do this, they end up with a house that looks like a second-hand store or their own garage sale. If you have a knack for decorating, then go for it. Pick a décor style have fun. It is perfectly acceptable to have a mixture of old and new items, but in the end they all have to work together in a unified style. Buy comfortable furniture – a nice sofa and easy chairs. Choose an attractive micro-fiber fabric, its ideal for vacation homes. Make sure you provide good bed mattresses and the right bed sizes. Most travelers today want king or at least queen size beds. Buy a larger flat screen TV for the living room or den. Unless you have the know-how and the time to do these tasks, hire someone to do them for you. Many furniture stores have staff decorators who offer this service for free.

Don’t Believe it is Simple to Successfully Market and Manage Your Vacation Rental:

If you’ve read this far, you know there is a lot more to owning and operating vacation properties than first meets the eye. With the proliferation of mega vacation rental websites, that make it easy for home owners to advertise their own property, it can seem simpler than it is. There is a lot more to this business than putting up a web page and answering email inquiries and phone calls and keeping an availability calendar. The task of writing rental contracts, collecting money, collecting and paying taxes, staying current with community licensing and rules and regulations, checking guests in and out, providing housekeeping and ongoing maintenance, dealing with complaints, dealing with property damage done by guests, and addressing unhappy neighbors can be daunting. And, I haven’t even addressed the demands or creating a successful marketing campaign. In today’s market it goes beyond writing good ad copy and providing quality property photos on a website. Be prepared to engage in social media such as Facebook and twitter to reach your potential rental guests.

Commercial Construction – Efficiency in Business Starts with Energy-Efficient Buildings

Every Dollar Saved is a Dollar Earned as they say. Indeed, it would be hard for any CFO or Accountant to dismiss this notion. Therefore, every increase in efficiency in a business that saves money, is like money in the bank. The Department of Energy, the construction industry and America’s corporate manufacturers are looking for ways to save energy, reduce pollution and keep more of what they make. By doing this it gives an edge to the manufacturing sector so they can compete with foreign competition, while reducing energy costs and pollution.

It is a WIN-WIN for everyone and all the parties involved are doing everything they can to increase productivity workflow, streamline the manufacturing process and reduce costs using advanced clean and green technologies to do just that. In fact, if you think about it, this is exactly what the residential home builders are doing in order to stay in business. They know energy efficient homes are more desirable to the few new-home homebuyers currently in the market. It is a matter of cost control and high-tech innovations that is needed to compete. I believe this recent DOE-Department of Energy press-release speaks to this realization:

Energy Star Commercial Buildings and Plants on the RiseWhile green and efficient homes are drawing considerable interest in the building industry, the number of energy-efficient commercial buildings and manufacturing plants is also growing, with a 25% increase last year in the number of such buildings earning the Energy Star.

In 2007 alone, more than 1,400 commercial buildings and plants earned the Energy Star label, bringing the total to nearly 4,100, with Energy Star buildings located in every state, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Energy Star is a joint program of DOE and the EPA, and commercial buildings that have earned the Energy Star use nearly 40% less energy than average buildings, producing 35% lower carbon dioxide emissions. About 500 of the Energy Star buildings use 50% less energy than average buildings. Energy use in commercial buildings and manufacturing plants accounts for nearly 50% of energy consumption nationwide.

The Energy Star buildings include about 1,500 office buildings, 1,300 supermarkets, 820 K-12 schools, and 250 hotels. In addition, more than 185 banks, financial centers, hospitals, courthouses, warehouses, dormitories, and big-box retail buildings have also earned the Energy Star.

More than 35 plants that are manufacturing automobiles, cement, and ethanol have also earned the Energy Star, including for the first time three petroleum refineries in Louisiana and one each in Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, and Texas. In total, these award-winning commercial buildings and manufacturing plants have saved nearly $1.5 billion annually in energy while avoiding 25 billion pounds in carbon dioxide emissions.

What this is telling the American People is the more efficient homes are indeed, on their way. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone lived in an efficient eco-home? Well, that is the DOE, EPA and National Homebuilder’s Associations plan and what a plan indeed. Think on this. Not long ago our Online Think Tank also took a look at ways to modernize manufacturing facilities and give them an energy savings boost. We must consider ways to improve commercial construction and the manufacturing processes inside.

The Five Best Places to Look to Keep Up With Trending Fashion

1. Celebrate fashion weeks

Besides the four fashion capitals of the world namely; Paris, Milan, London, and New York, I’m sure there is a local version of fashion week in your place where you can get a huge amount of fashion style inspirations. Quickly check online for the scheduled date of this tremendously exciting affair for fashion aficionados and take a pick among which style inspirations you would get from the various collections of different fashion designers flaunting their work on the runway.

2. Be a mall rat

If fashion weeks seem to be far-fetched, you can always go to your dependable local mall. Malls usually have shops that sell the trends. Which top sells the hottest or which clothing brands are worn by celebrities and models alike. Clothing brands usually get famous celebrities to be fashion style inspirations and you’ll surely find out how you can keep up with the latest fashion trends & tips.

3. Love media!

Print, television, and film are powerful sources of great style inspirations you can check. Posh magazines are still on the list of references where you can see what’s hot and what’s not. Magazines are also beneficial because you can just cut-out your favourite outfit, post it on your wall and explore your closet to have the same look! Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle and Vogue are just some of the many fashion magazines you can rely on. Fashion style inspirations are also found on TV and film where you can just see what style celebrities are wearing.

4. Embrace the online fashion frenzy

You will definitely agree when I say that technology has made everything conveniently operated by the touch of a finger. All you have to do is research, browse, and pin pictures of your fashion style inspirations so you can have them on-standby when you need a glance of the latest fashion trends & tips. You can also subscribe to fashion websites to get a daily dose of fashion freshness or follow fashion designers and posh clothing brands on social media.

5. Go out and scout

Call up your friends and hit the bar, a concert, or a party and play observe. The best fashion style inspirations are sometimes the random people you see around. Chances are if it’s trendy enough, then 90% of the people are wearing it. Spot the fashionistas with your friends and don’t forget to take down notes on the latest fashion trends & tips.